The challenge of our unknown future is so much more exciting than the stories of our accomplished past, but this unknown future has never been as unpredictable as now. As marketers, we have heard many times that the customer journey is changing. This shift has created an ever-shrinking window for brands to successfully interact and engage with their prospects and customers. Brands are under pressure to perform, while consumers are spoilt for choice, constantly scrolling past heaps of irrelevant content in the hope that today, they will be stopped in their tracks by something worth giving their limited time to. And in between, we sit. That’s where you’ll find us, marketers and agencies, faced with a new version of an old problem but one that’s not going to be fixed with stalwart thinking and aged strategy.
Gone are the days where big-budget brand-heavy TVCs shot in black and white with a steamy, thought-provoking script was all you needed. There are bigger business problems that need to be solved and more often than not, they’re not sexy and won’t win you any awards. The leaders of the agencies who will survive the transitional phase we find ourselves in, will be ok with this and just get to work.
When I started Kingdom Agency in 2016 as an agency of the future, I had one thing in mind. A desire to strengthen the emotional connection between brands and its audience in order to solve real business problems, deliver better work, and positively impact the consumers we touch through the brands we align ourselves with.
I’ve realised the agency of the future is not the agency of the now, and I believe the following reasons will been crucial to our continued existence:
Be a business partner
I believe the agency of the future is a formidable and irreplaceable long-term partner who is intrinsically involved and dedicated to the full effect of its client’s business. Even the unsexy stuff. This agency will learn to look past a brief (but sometimes first interrogate it) and ask the hard questions. As an agency of the future, you will be required to be a problem-solver for areas that often fall outside of the advertising realm. A brave agency not afraid to ask these questions is going to prove not only that they know what they’re talking about, but that they care enough about their client’s actual business, not just their marketing budget allocation. Be the partner, be top of mind, and allow clients to draw from what you and your team have to offer.
It’s becoming less about parachuting in with strategy, creativity, and a communications plan and then leaving before the tekkie hits the tar. It’s about being accountable, having set KPIs, and utilising your internal capabilities to the fullest in order to walk the road with your client/brand. Agencies need to do more than utilise all their artistry to inspire high levels of creativity. You would need to give client a lot more than they bargained for. Think business development through creative strategy.
To be around in five or ten years’ time, I believe it’s more about survival of the fittest. It’s the agency who can adapt that will thrive. You’ve got to think of yourself as a shape-shifter. Yes, keep your key offerings and don’t lose that creative edge, but also come to terms with the ever-changing landscape. With that, comes a constant need to evaluate, re-evaluate, and remain agile and open to change to wherever you need to do. The role of technology, the influx of data, the importance of content, and the proliferation of previously known consumer segments starting to fade are all effects that enforce constant change and the ability to remain agile.
One-man bands are coming
The world of freelancers and consultants is also growing and changing and I believe this is a great thing. Agencies should definitely have key players as full-time staff but use the plug-and-play offerings of freelancers as the need arises. They come and go as and when you need them, giving you the opportunity to create bespoke teams of specialists fit for the project you intend to address. This not only brings fresh ideas and perspective to the party, but also cuts those overheads which you would have ultimately passed on to client anyway, making it a win-win for everyone. We are also seeing smaller shops with the right experience starting to win the battle over lower client budgets, quicker turnaround times, higher expectations, and the rise and rise of digital. Become a playmaker and craft the roles required to give your client the best outcome to achieve on set objectives, versus throwing the world at them and hoping something will stick.
The goal is not to ‘beat’ our competition but rather to improve ourselves, and we are excited about the year ahead. The most recent addition to the Kingdom Agency family is Lightstruck, a next-generation digital utility service and the first of many new clients we look forward to welcoming into the Kingdom family in 2019. Although 2019 is the year of the unknown, we believe it will ultimately favour the brave, and for that, we are truly grateful.
About Kingdom Agency
Kingdom Agency is a full-service strategy, insight, and creative agency – solving business problems online, offline and everywhere in between. Owner and CEO, Herman Wallis, has close to 20 years experience in the branding, marketing, advertising, and media industry.